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Five things on my mind this morning

Let me give you a piece of my mind (not that I can spare too much) this morning:

1. The Dolphins are stunning in their defensive fall from grace so far this season. They got lit up by New England. They improved somewhat against Houston but still, it wasn't good enough. And then, most disappointing to me, they gave up a game-winning drive to Colt McCoy and a Browns offense that was without running back Peyton Hillis and the club's starting right tackle Tony Pashos this past weekend.

So the Dolphins defense is ranked 30th in the NFL so far this year. Terrible, right? Team can't win until they get better, right?

Yeah, well, the Patriots have the No. 32 ranked defense in the NFL this year. That is dead last.

The difference is the Patriots have the best QB in the NFL so having the worst statistical defense in the NFL is not quite as painful as it is in Miami. It's vexing. But season-killing? Not when you can light up the scoreboard.

For the record, the Dolphins averaged 17 points per game last year and that was obvioulsy not good enough. This year the new, revamped, rebuilt, refurbished offense is averaging 17.6 points per game through three games.

2. As you might know, I reported Monday that the Dolphins are in money-saving mode. I've been told this by very high ranking sources within the football side of the organization. [UPDATE: Another high-ranking and annoyed source within the organization says the team is not in big money-saving mode, it's just going by a budget and there is no big deal afoot.]

Anyway, I got a call from yet another source within the organization Monday explaining that the team's salary cap space -- estimated between $7-$8 million under the $120 million -- will eventually be used this year.

I was told the space was left with the thoughts of using toward signing extensions with certain players whose contracts expire after this year. Among those players are Kendall Langford, Chad Henne and others. The team might even visit the idea of signing Cameron Wake before his deal expires after 2012.

Except, I asked this source, why such a need to save cap space for players who are basically taking you to a winless record? What's so great about them?

"That's a consideration that we might have to re-examine," the source admitted.

I would think so.

Yes, Langford is nice player. But he's not great. He's basically a space eater. He's got two tackles in three games so far this year. Igor Olshansky had two tackles in one game against Cleveland. Jared Odrick has four tackles. Randy Starks has 10 tackles.

Look, the Dolphins can sign Langford to keep him from hitting free agency. But the hope is the deal is modest. Because his playmaking has been modest.

Henne presents another interesting situation. Do the Dolphins sign him to an extension now? I say if the season continues on its present course, I would absolutely not do that.

Simply, if the Dolphins continue to stink, they will be in favorable position to pick a quarterback very, very early in the draft. Andrew Luck, Kellen Moore, Landry Jones and perhaps Robert Griffin III might all be available next draft.

So why invest in Henne now?

Now, if Henne goes crazy the next 13 games, absolutely, you re-sign him. Why? Well, if he goes crazy, he will have proven his worth and at the same time would have probably played the Dolphins out of the top rung of the draft anyway.

But again, you don't do that anytime soon. You let it play out until late in the year or  even after the season when teams have an exclusive negotiating window with their free agents.

So again, that cap space now makes no sense.

And while we're on the topic, Phillip Merling is out of contract after this season. Two words following his one tackle against Houston and coming off what was apparently a healthy scratch last week: Bye. Bye.

[NOTE: By the way, I'm thinking I've got to start cutting down on sources particularly when they all work for the same team and they're not all on the same page. Sheesh.]

3. I wrote in my column that coach Tony Sparano struggled to walk out of Cleveland Browns Stadium, moving gingerly and stopping once to, ahem, adjust because he was in obvious pain as he continues to recover from double hernia surgery.

I'm told by a source close to Sparano the coach was told his surgery required a short hospital stay followed by 10 days of bed rest. Sparano was in bed for one day and walking the next. While in bed, 75 minutes after the surgery, he was breaking down tape of the team's final preseason game.

Does that make him a great coach? No. Does it make him one very tough and dedicated dude? You betcha.

4. Thinking back to No. 2, there are other players who are likely in their final years with the Dolphins:

Vernon Carey, Will Allen, and possibly Paul Soliai because he's expecting a big payday after this year and the Dolphins might not be willing to meet his price -- as they've not been able to do in three separate contract offers since last October. Yup, three total offers aside from the franchise tag tender is what the team has put in front of Soliai's agent.

5. I like Jimmy Wilson. He's a rookie. He's a seventh round draft pick. And he took responsibility for "losing the game" against Cleveland Sunday. For the record, Wilson gave up the catch that resulted in the winning touchdown.

But he didn't lose the game.

Football is a team sport. It's won by teams. And lost by teams.

You have to admire Wilson's view anyway. He's a no-excuses guy. And he didn't much mention the interception he had earlier in the game, which happened to be the first of his career. Wilson, by the way, has one more interception than either of Miami's starting cornerbacks -- Sean Smith or Vontae Davis.

That means Davis and Smith have zero interceptions.

I cannot decide which is more disappointing: That Smith and Davis had trouble holding on to balls that would have been interceptions last year. Or that this year they haven't had any passes in their hands that they might have converted into interceptions.



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I'd hold WAAAAY off before re-signing anyone to extensions. As a matter of fact, here's my list of those folks that will be ESSENTIAL to keep:
Long, Pouncey, Wake, V. Davis, S. Smith.

Here's those who probably be best to keep:
Bess, D. Thomas, Henne/Moore (we need a good #2), Marshall (you won't get value for him), Wilson.

Everyone else is commodity, or fodder. Like the C.Cameron days, we're back to rebuilding mode. I can deal with that, we just have to admit it, and then do something about it.

Again, I'm not a Jeff Ireland supporter but is it a coincidence as Phins78 said that every player who comes to the team gets worse. Marshall, Davis, Dansby, Bush. Isn't that on coaching? You guys want to judge the team for the performance on the field and I'm saying that's on the coaching staff. You guys want to judge Ireland for the time he's been here and I'm saying the only right thing to do is judge him from the time we know he's been in charge and that's part way through last year and this year. I'm saying we have different results and guys are performing better under a better coach.

Why would a troll come here posting inflammatory remarks if we are the laughing stock of the League? Vicarious pleasure? I doubt it. Probably a Dolphins Fan who is frustrated with the Team(as we all are) but who it's taking it out on Us.

However, did anyone see Cowher on the CBS show last week say something to the effect that "see, I love offensive football".

Posted by: Chris in the 623 | September 28, 2011 at 01:13 PM

That got a good laugh from the other "experts"- almost as if they were thinking the same thing as you!


you remind me of a bad student in school

it is obvious SPARANO has a rapport with you--
otherwise, it is clear to all of us that he is NOT QUALIFIED to be an nfl HEAD COACH--he has proven this over the years as inept

you also miss the point concerning his dedication--he is being OVERPAID MILLIONS TO UNFORTUNATELY BE INCOMPETENT--HE BETTER BE DEDICATED!!

my suspicion is there is a reason behind you being so easy in your columns on this lousy head coach!!

what you fail to realize is that you need to be OBJECTIVE -AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE or else your readers like myself wont take you with any seriousness!!

i repeat SPARANO is hopelessly incompetent as a head coach!!!

5 things I think about the 5 things you're thinking about:

1. The defense is playing exactly like it did last year. Bad against good teams, decent to very good against poor teams. Struggling to get off the field on 3rd down & giving up big plays at the end of games. You shouldn't be shocked!

2. We are not in savings mode. We are in Ross making Ireland & Sparano earn their extensions mode. Ross is NOT dumb. Ireland has proven to be very wasteful with money. Why would Ross let him continue to throw it away?

I've been saying it for 2 years, DE's like Langford don't deserve top money for some of the same reasons you mentioned. One of those DE's should be trade bait. We start 2, do we really need 5-6?

Sign Henne to a decent deal where the next coach & GM gives him a shot or potentially keep him as the #2.

3. Disobeying medical orders to fulfill a job that will be waiting for you, is guaranteed & could cost you potentially long term problems doesn't make you dedicated, it makes you stupid.

4. I think all 3 of the guys you mentioned should be gone too

5. Way to early to tell if Wilson will be a keeper. God knows with our CD depth, we're all hoping so!

Careful what you wish for people...Seems to me everyone wanted to be rid of Crowder and look what happens. He may not have made many sensational plays but he at least had everyone in the right positions and was solid. His replacement SUCKS! Henne, as Poizen repeatedly points out, is playing very well and statistically would be much better if his receivers ran the right routes (Marshall!!) (and both Bess and Hartline admit to missing audibles), plus held on to the damn ball. If, and it is a big if, we get Luck by the end of next year, the chant won't be "Suck for Luck", it will be "Luck Sucks" if the line doesn't get fixed!!!

Totally agree, nobody gets any extenions on this team until the season ends,unless your a peanut and beer vendor, they've earned their paycheck.

The defense has been a total disaster.Smith,and Davis are below average corners.How many picks have they had?How many fumbles have they caused?When do you see either of these so called "stars"make a game changing play?They get burned constantly.Best CB tandem in NFL?Maybe in the arena football league.

That's because Sean Smith has no ball skills, ever since that one handed intercepetion he had in PRESEASON he hasn't done anything. Don't get me started on his tackling OMG its awful.

Pretty boy doesn't want to get his uniform or braids dirty. Another thing I hate about the guy is he does this stupid thing when the receiver drops the ball he motions "Incomplete" like he did something. Home right he's a Poser boy!

Rob Ryan.

The Henne detractors will be back on the bus as soon as the Dolphins win. There is no reason to argue with them because they are the same people who see a savior in the "latest flavor of the week" every draft.

They wanted Quinn. They wanted Orton. They wanted Russell. They wanted Kolb. Now they they want Luck. You tell them the unborn love child of Marino and Favre will be available in the 2033 draft and they will start screaming Miami needs to draft him.

Yea, I know.

I am engulphed with the Henne thing in this blog. I cant get off it at all, it is killing me. I wish I could just let it go.

you know me and QB's though.

Either way, henne here or not, I just want to win, this sucks in general.

but Henne in no way should be the primary attack for the faults of this team, and that happens to much in this blog imo.

I am trying to let it go. LOL

I sure let him have it on his Twitter but I'm sure he doesn't care.

Poizon, whay good does bring in another so called alpha reciever if Henne (which you defend so much) cant put the ball where the reciever can make a play on it. besides where is Bess he has been quite this year, I in the beginning was a Henne supporter but after seeing him mature he has not shown much to be proud of with his throwing picks in the 4th qtr with the game on the line. what do fans not get about this, stats mean nothing if you (the so called leader) is leading you to a loss. please explain (not to knock you opinion) your love for this ass clown of a Qb???

Long, Dansby, Marshall, Solai & Bush are taking up a huge amount of cap space.
Long is putting up pro bowl after pro bowl.
Dansby, Marshall, Solai & Bush are not.
Dansby & Marshall are un-tradeable because of thier contracts.
And we still need a RT and FS regardless who is QB.
And Henne, Luck, Landry etc all have a choice of where they play.
This isn't a trivial story.
There is an extraordinary pivot point in the history of the franchise approaching at the end of the season.

As hard as TS is working, then I don't understand why his players aren't giving him the same effort!! some part of the team always seems to not show up. AND WE LOSE.

I like the guy but somethings amiss.

CraigM, let Cowher be coach & GM.

Bill Cowher was involved in most of the personel decisions in Pittsburgh. If you recall, they let Tom Donahoe go to give Cowher more authority in the draft. There was some kind of power struggle going on there & Rooney sided & gave Cowher what he wanted.

Those teams that he won with & Tomlin is winning with, were largely assembled by Cowher.

Henne sucks in the fourth quarter, but that is all he sucks at. He is not the problem. The coaches r. The gm is. 12 mill to soliai is.
We are awful because only one game in sparanos history hasn't been a nail biter. One game. Why is this not a bigger deal?!?!? Coaching not to lose gets u 7-9 every year!
And mando is literally makin me sick. Defending sparano and Ireland? I'm over it. Who's with me.
And btw, anyone not seeing that after hiring the worst oc in the league wouldn't fix our offense is kinda ridiculous.

luck has no choice. draft him after we go 2-14 and cowher and luck will fill the stadium again

poizen,what fun would it be if everybody agreed on everything.?.lol

A potential new coach and GM, especially high profile ones are either going to want long term contracts or thier choice of QB.
Without the cap room they cannot have thier choice of QB.
Chad Henne has an agent although evidently not a very good one.
Say what you want about Henne but someone will offer him at least as much as Kolb.

I was in the boat to get rid of Sparano yesterday but after thinking about I think we need to keep him for the whole year. He's our best shot at getting Andrew Luck with the first pick in the draft!!!

Henne will not get starter money from any team in the league. Kolb is horrible by the way whoever wanted him. Any guy from Andy Reid camp will be terrible (AJ Feely)

henne will be holding a clipboard next year somewhere

Everyone keeps pointing out that statistics mean nothing (which they don't) it is performance on the field, but the majority blame Henne and give Marshall and the other receivers a pass...why? It has been pointed out repeatedly that Marshall has dropped 3 TD passes, Hartline and Bess run the wrong routes on audibles, Clownumbo is doing his best matador impersonation in an attempt to get Henne killed, Henne is running for his life, and the coaches insist on running Bush as an every down back...hmmm

How about let Henne walk, draft Luck or Jones, a RT, a FS and some D-lineman to replace Langford etc.
Start Moore for a year.
Then 2 years from now we should be about where St Louis and Bradford are today.

There just doesn't seem to be any return on this investment.

To Armando's point about available QB's: You missed Barkley. After Luck, he's the easy #2. NFL ready, from an NFL style offense. Jones is good, but 3rd. I'd place Weedon ahead of Griffin (NFL style arm and pocket presence). However, I do agree Griffin has tremendous upside. He's a carbon copy of Cam Newton except for height. The only real drawback is he'll be RAW. He doesn't have to go through progressions at Baylor, and he has a strange foot split-bounce rhythm that may not work in the NFL under duress. But he does through one heck of a long ball, and scrambles well. A little too much of a project for my tastes - I'm patient but not that patient right now. 2nd rounder by most projections, so I'd say keep to Luck, Barkley or Jones. Moore is a questionmark, but maybe the #4. I wish he'd play against real teams more often.

I love it when the assclowns complain that Henne has no accuracy. His completion percentage is sky-high. The guy has thrown 4 perfect td passes to Marshall that have been dropped. Our receivers drop balls that undrafted free agents catch as a matter of routine.

I see a lot of people on here who have never played football, sitting around in their lounge chairs drinking a bunch of budlights, and think the ability to play NCAA on their playstation gives them insight into talent evaluations.

Everyone of these guys thinks that selecting a new guy out of college solves the qb problem, the cb problem, the lineman problem, the rb problem, the wr problem, etc. Never mind that statistics and facts prove them wrong.

Rob Ryan for HC.

Even if Henne had 10 seconds in the pocket, he'll probably throw the ball 100 mph with no touch.

dusty, luck w/ fischer gruden coughlin cowher ryan would fill the seats.lol

Egreen, it's been well established here that it's not all Henne's fault. Afterall, he doesn't play defense!

If you're like me & see improvement but still see some weakness, that's one thing. But I don't see many, if any, blaming it all on him.

I can throw for a high throwing pctg if I was throwing the ball in the flat too. That's not where QB make their money. It's the red zone and 2 min offense where has Henne excel in either one of these?

And folks, Henne is a BIG part of the problem. Someone recently said "QBs make their money in the red zone not between the 20s." If we were paying Henne on his red zone performance he'd go broke quick. Henne is pretty much 1 and done. 1 read then throw away, sack, run, fumble, insert issue here. Once the pressure hits or a hand happens to slap him, his head and eyes go down.

There was a guy named Marino that threw the ball at 100 mph on 5 yard slants. He didn't give the receiver the opportunity to drop the ball because it was planted in his stomach. Touch is a word used by those who don't know what catchable means.

Even if Henne had 10 seconds in the pocket, he'll probably throw the ball 100 mph with no touch.

Posted by: DKM | September 28, 2011 at 01:55 PM

Brilliant post.....NOT!!!!

Craig, I just want the NEXT GM. I know, you get caught up in "who." But that's not how I look at it. I see a GM who's done more than make mistakes, he's proven he can't identify talent. Sure, he got some right, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Next guy might be better, he might be worse. What he won't be, is the guy we have now. At a certain point, you have to cut ties when it's not working. This is one of those times. The next guy will have a grace period, something Ireland doesn't have.

You can't have half your personnel moves be Cowboys-retreads just because you came from Dallas. That's a joke. That's not a serious GM. That's a guy who doesn't have a clue what he's doing, and is just closing his eyes and picking talent.

Also, I'm not going to act like I'm smart enough or know enough to be able to recall a name off the top of my head and say that'll be the best choice at GM (or even better than Ireland). That's what others get paid for (Owner, Mike Dee, etc.). Let them figure it out. I've already figured out Ireland isn't helping, and possibly hurting, so I've seen enough out of him.

clowns have axxes.?.lol
yeah. henne's the bomb.

Hmm. The Dolphins redzone offense sucked long before Henne became part of the picture.

Didn't Dallas just settle for 6 field goals and no touchdowns?

Settling for fieldgoals is a result of poor play calling, philosophy, and poor execution. All of which are coaching issues not a QB issue.

For me..the primary question is this:

When will Ross change the HC...and who will it be?

More to the point...will he be a top notch HC with pedigree, or will he be another experiment?

If the new HC is another coaching project, it won't matter who we keep, or who we draft....

..the team's future success hinges on this one decision. Period!!!

Egreen, it's been well established here that it's not all Henne's fault. Afterall, he doesn't play defense!

If you're like me & see improvement but still see some weakness, that's one thing. But I don't see many, if any, blaming it all on him.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe | September 28, 2011 at 01:58 PM

And exactly two posts later....Henne is bashed yet again! Henne has some learning to do but he is going to be a winning QB.

New Coach Wanted,

Dont ever use Marino as an example for garbage Chad Henne. Henne is not worthy!!

New Coach Wanted -- Henne's completion % is at 56%. That puts him at 26th in the NFL. Not good enough!!! He is part of the problem. The other part is the folks that drafted him and the coach.

Tricky, come on man, the only problem Henne has is fade patterns.

All other balls are on the money for the most part.

Just Andrew Luck alone makes this team a whole lot better.

Poizen...not exactly true...he constantly throws the out pass out of bounds..and by a couple yards...that is not accuracy by NFL standards.

The offensive line makes or breaks a QB....I'm still broke!!!

Some of you guys are delerious if you think Henne can win a superbowl. He's not the MAIN problem but he's part of the problem. I want someone to look at his over stats in the red zone for his whole career, bet their terrible. What about his completion percentage in the 2 min offense again bet he's terrible. Stop thinking or wishing he'll be a good QB cause he's not! Get your head out of your assess! (Poizen)

poizen, henne is 1-5 with paxxes of 21-31yds. and 0-1 w/ paxxes of 31 or more.
just saying

Drop the Houston game and Henne is at 62%. For his career, Henne is at 61%. Matt Ryan for his career is at 61% as well. Dan Marino for his career was at 59%.

Tell me about accuracy again?

Lets make it simple. Anyone making this claim about accuracy is foolish. They make themselves even more foolish by repeating it.

However, they are not nearly as stupid as anyone stating that getting Andrew Luck makes this team a whole lot better.

In addition...some have asked here why there are no screen passes to Bush..

...the QB has to be able to throw that pass with the right touch.

100 mph passes over 10 yards is not exactly throwing with touch.

Name the last time he threw a touch pass !!!

Just sayin....

And folks, Henne is a BIG part of the problem. Someone recently said "QBs make their money in the red zone not between the 20s." If we were paying Henne on his red zone performance he'd go broke quick.


Henne is not at all well paid. If you considered players who are underperforming according to the weight of their contracts, you wouldn't even mention him. For what Henne costs, he's the team MVP.

The red zone is where QB's make their money?

Fair enough, but how about this:

End Zones are where Receivers catch touchdown passes.

Get the point?

ok. the texan game doesn't count.lol

Most of the Phin players are playing like they are here for the paycheck sans a few like Thomas, Wilson, etc. They either don't care or they are not properly motivated. You have to ask yourself: what do the other teams have that the Phins don't? Answer that question and the wins will start coming. I say it's heart and leadership.

New Coach Wanted,

No one arguing is accuracy, its his red zone productivity and 2 min offense productivity. Are you wearing the DUNCE cap for today? He was in a dink and donk offense for the last 2 years jeez.

stats.com will erase all of hennes 4th q mishaps and horiible games so his stats look decent. lmao.
wow. the excuses just keep on commin'.

The red zone is where QB's make their money?

Fair enough, but how about this:

End Zones are where Receivers catch touchdown passes.

Get the point?

Posted by: Win or lose, it's a team effort.

Hey, no fair...you aren't blaming Henne!!!

...and on play calling...how bout a TE screen to Fasano....how mnay have we seen?

Exactly zero!!!!!

Whether it's play calling, or a QB who can't make the throw..the fact remains that we don't have very many plays called/executed to take advantage of Bush's talents...

but oh yeah, I forgot, he was acquired to be the primary half back!!! lolololol

Fasano's to busy trying to cover Clownumbo's horrible ass to go out for the screen....

True dat!

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